Goals galore for Harpenden

Harps come out on top in 11-goal thriller

HOCKEY: With Todd Baines and Nick McLean both bagging a brace, and stunning team goals finished off by Jonny Baker and skipper Tom Bunbury, Harpenden managed to put six past Ramgarhia. However, in a refreshingly open game all six were required as Ramgarhia staged a remarkable second half fight back.

For Harpenden the first dazzling moment of the match came late in the first half when Dan Burgess fed the ball to Bains, who moved up field before releasing an expansive cross field pass to McLean. Unmarked and in space, McLean had time to pick out Baker, pictured right, who had tip-toed his way into the D. Baker’s deflected finish took the ball away from the keeper and high into the roof of the net to send Harpenden into the interval 3-1 up.

The second Harpenden highlight came after the break, with the score moved on to 4-1, David Waters recovered the ball in his own D, weaved past three Ramgarhian challenges before lobbing the ball up field. The ball was shifted to Baker who slotted it across for a diving Bunbury to finish off. Baker’s killer ball was timed brilliantly for the skipper, who had made up 70 yards from the edge of his own D, to complete a move that will live long in the minds of the Harps players.

Harpenden then earned a short corner, which Todd Baines chipped in to complete his brace.

That should have put the game safe, but Harps inability to close out games when ahead has been their Achilles heel this term and it nearly proved to be again.

With the score now at 6-1, the hosts had the advantage of being free to relax and simply play their game rather than fret about the outcome.

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With 20 minutes of the match remaining, Ramgarhia threw caution to the wind and went on all out attack, and quickly rattled in three goals.

Ramgarhia forwards then went close again as Harps’ defence began to display the confused look.

Sensing that the comeback of all comebacks was on the cards, Ramgarhia kept pressing and set up an exciting finish when a short corner crossed the line, despites David Jeffries valiant attempt to clear the effort.

With Harpenden rocking, Ramgarhia took advantage to score their fifth, ensuring a nail biting finale.

Plucky Harpenden survived, and in truth would have felt aggrieved had they let the win slip.

Skipper Tom Bunbury opined after the game saying: “Letting in five goals is a pain in the shoulder. We came under the cosh in the second half, and the skill in their front five was absolutely beguiling.

“Against their forwards, you daren’t miss a tackle but we tickled them a bit so they punished us.

“Luckily when we had possession we made chances. We scored six today and that was enough to win.

“They say nothing beats winning, and it’s so true.”

This Saturday, Harpenden look to extend their improving form as they entertain Cambridge Nomads at home.